Overclock.net › Forums › Consumer Electronics › Home Audio › Dac choices
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Dac choices

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a dac for my HiFi system for 2 channel audio. I would like a minimum of a 24bit/96khz capability, but would prefer 24/192. My budget is $1000, because I want to buy something that will last me a long time (I don't like buying a product that I will feel like upgrading in a couple years).
 
I was looking at sevral dacs, including:
Benchmark DAC1 ($999)
Peachtree Audio iDac ($999)
PS Audio - Digital Link III DAC ($499 from $1000)
Centrance - DACmini CX ($799)
Musical Fidelity M1 DAC ($749)
 
Leaning towards one of the first 2. No idea where to go from here.
 
 
For those who say spending so much on a DAC isn't worth it with the AV receiver I currently have, I will be buying dedicated components as time passes, the DAC is just high on my list at the moment.




I could pickup 2 dacs (if they could be returned) to ab but that's the limit.
Edited by deadagain6591 - 7/16/12 at 2:10pm
 
HiFi Rig
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 3820 Asus P9X79 WS Gigabyte HD7950 G. Skill Ripjaws 64 GB (8x8gb) 1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
OCZ Vertex 3 Western Digital Green Western Digital Crucial M4 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Corsair H100 Windows 7 Professional x64 edition Samsung S27A650D Samsung S27A650D 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard v4000 Corsair AX750 Corsair Graphite Special Edition White 600T Microsoft Sidewinder x7 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Razer eXactMat Digidesign 003R Event TR8 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
x6 1055t MSI 870a XFX 4850 4GB ddr3 G Skill Ripjaw 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB Hdd sata dvd burner Windows 7 Pro x64 LG 47LM6200 
KeyboardPowerCase
Microsoft ergonomics keyboard PC Power&Cooling 510 Antec P180 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel i5 3570k Asus P8Z77-V G. Skill Sniper 8GB 1866MHz OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Antec h20 620 Windows 7 Pro x64 Dual Acer 22" Corsair CX430 
  hide details  
Reply
 
HiFi Rig
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 3820 Asus P9X79 WS Gigabyte HD7950 G. Skill Ripjaws 64 GB (8x8gb) 1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
OCZ Vertex 3 Western Digital Green Western Digital Crucial M4 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Corsair H100 Windows 7 Professional x64 edition Samsung S27A650D Samsung S27A650D 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard v4000 Corsair AX750 Corsair Graphite Special Edition White 600T Microsoft Sidewinder x7 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Razer eXactMat Digidesign 003R Event TR8 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
x6 1055t MSI 870a XFX 4850 4GB ddr3 G Skill Ripjaw 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB Hdd sata dvd burner Windows 7 Pro x64 LG 47LM6200 
KeyboardPowerCase
Microsoft ergonomics keyboard PC Power&Cooling 510 Antec P180 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel i5 3570k Asus P8Z77-V G. Skill Sniper 8GB 1866MHz OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Antec h20 620 Windows 7 Pro x64 Dual Acer 22" Corsair CX430 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 8
Wyred 4 Sound DAC-1. Asynchronous 24/96 via USB, 24/192 via other inputs. Plenty of reviews out there.

IMO, the Benchmark is a bit thin sounding. Peachtree's DAC's sound ok, but you can do better for the money. The digital link III is a dated design, and I'm not familiar with the DACmini.
    
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i7 2600K ASUS 6970 Mushkin Redline  OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Black 1tb ASUS  Corsair H100 Win 7x64 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Corsair Vengeance K60 CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX750 ENERMAX FULMO Advance Logitech G9X 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Wyred 4 Sound mINT KEF Q100 Speakers Hifiman HE-6 Headphones AKG K550 Headphones 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i7 2600K ASUS 6970 Mushkin Redline  OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Black 1tb ASUS  Corsair H100 Win 7x64 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Corsair Vengeance K60 CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX750 ENERMAX FULMO Advance Logitech G9X 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Wyred 4 Sound mINT KEF Q100 Speakers Hifiman HE-6 Headphones AKG K550 Headphones 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 8
I have tried several DACs in the last few months under $1,000. Very recently was the Cambridge Audio DACMagic Plus. I ended up going with this one because of its features and what appeared to my ears to be a more "natural" sound. However, I will caution you that there is currently a production issue that Cambridge has not yet admitted to with this unit. I borrowed one from a local dealer and it was fine. That is the unit that caused me to make the purchase. However, I received my first unit from a much later production date. This unit immediately developed an audible static in the left channel. I then overnighted a unit from Amazon. This one has the same issue, but in addition to that the entire unit makes an audible noise from the chassis! This is without any device plugged in, only the power outlet. I've tried it through a power conditioner and without, in several areas of my house, and these 2 have the same issue. The older unit from my dealer has no trouble at all. So I would recommend the DacMagic Plus, but not until this issue is sorted out.

Next I would recommend the Arcam rDAC. This thing sounded great. It has a much more neutral sound than the DM+, but it only does 24/96 through USB which immediately took it out of the running for me. It has a much more neutral sound than the DM+ which is a more ideal performance characteristic for a DAC, but I still preferred the DM+.

If you really want to spend $1,000 for a DAC though, I would recommend Audio-GD. I have had an NFB-12 for over a year and it has been great. I haven't really found anything that has made me want to replace the NFB-12. In fact, I still have it despite getting the DM+. For under $1,000 you're looking at the new Audio-GD SA-1 or the Audio-GD Reference 5.2. I don't believe you would find yourself wanting to upgrade your DAC for many, many years if you went with one of these two options. I really want to grab that Reference 5.2 before they run out of the exceedingly rare PCM1704UK chips but my funds have been lacking lately. mad.gif
Edited by Greg121986 - 7/16/12 at 10:33am
post #4 of 8
Sonically, I don't know how the DacMagic and DacMagic Plus compare, but the original DacMagic doesn't compare to the Wyred unit.
    
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i7 2600K ASUS 6970 Mushkin Redline  OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Black 1tb ASUS  Corsair H100 Win 7x64 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Corsair Vengeance K60 CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX750 ENERMAX FULMO Advance Logitech G9X 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Wyred 4 Sound mINT KEF Q100 Speakers Hifiman HE-6 Headphones AKG K550 Headphones 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i7 2600K ASUS 6970 Mushkin Redline  OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Black 1tb ASUS  Corsair H100 Win 7x64 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Corsair Vengeance K60 CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX750 ENERMAX FULMO Advance Logitech G9X 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Wyred 4 Sound mINT KEF Q100 Speakers Hifiman HE-6 Headphones AKG K550 Headphones 
  hide details  
Reply
post #5 of 8
Any specific reason for needing 24/192? (I honestly can't see one ever)..

At this price point, it really depends on what connections you need out of it as opposed to sound quality.
The 'This' System
(20 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i3 2120 Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H HIS HD 7870 IceQ 12GB DDR3 1600 CL9 (3 x 4 GB) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Intel 530 240 GB SSD Seagate Green ST2000DM001 Samsung F3 1 TB Seagate Green ST2000DL003 
Optical DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
LG GH20NS15 Windows 8.1 Pro Dell U2311H (A01) calibrated (R:99 G:95 B:98) Razer Arctosa 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Neo Eco 620c 620W Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 Logitech G400S Razer Goliathus Speed Edition (Medium) 
AudioAudioAudioOther
NwAvGuy O2 DAC NwAVGuy O2 headphone amp beyerdynamic T70 250 ohm headphones 100 M/bit cable internet connection 
  hide details  
Reply
The 'This' System
(20 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i3 2120 Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H HIS HD 7870 IceQ 12GB DDR3 1600 CL9 (3 x 4 GB) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Intel 530 240 GB SSD Seagate Green ST2000DM001 Samsung F3 1 TB Seagate Green ST2000DL003 
Optical DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
LG GH20NS15 Windows 8.1 Pro Dell U2311H (A01) calibrated (R:99 G:95 B:98) Razer Arctosa 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Neo Eco 620c 620W Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 Logitech G400S Razer Goliathus Speed Edition (Medium) 
AudioAudioAudioOther
NwAvGuy O2 DAC NwAVGuy O2 headphone amp beyerdynamic T70 250 ohm headphones 100 M/bit cable internet connection 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

Any specific reason for needing 24/192? (I honestly can't see one ever)

Formats such as DTS Master Audio delivers up to 192 kHz, and looking to the future i believe more formats will start adopting this as standard. Now I only need 96 kHz on USB because most music isn't available higher than that.


After doing some research, I thinking it would be a good idea to stay away from any dac that is powered by a "wall-wart" instead of an IEC connector. The main reason for this is I find it hard to trust the power supply in such a small wall-wart, and i believe that the small cables associated with these may lead to vulnerabilities when it comes to noise.
 
HiFi Rig
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 3820 Asus P9X79 WS Gigabyte HD7950 G. Skill Ripjaws 64 GB (8x8gb) 1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
OCZ Vertex 3 Western Digital Green Western Digital Crucial M4 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Corsair H100 Windows 7 Professional x64 edition Samsung S27A650D Samsung S27A650D 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard v4000 Corsair AX750 Corsair Graphite Special Edition White 600T Microsoft Sidewinder x7 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Razer eXactMat Digidesign 003R Event TR8 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
x6 1055t MSI 870a XFX 4850 4GB ddr3 G Skill Ripjaw 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB Hdd sata dvd burner Windows 7 Pro x64 LG 47LM6200 
KeyboardPowerCase
Microsoft ergonomics keyboard PC Power&Cooling 510 Antec P180 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel i5 3570k Asus P8Z77-V G. Skill Sniper 8GB 1866MHz OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Antec h20 620 Windows 7 Pro x64 Dual Acer 22" Corsair CX430 
  hide details  
Reply
 
HiFi Rig
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 3820 Asus P9X79 WS Gigabyte HD7950 G. Skill Ripjaws 64 GB (8x8gb) 1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
OCZ Vertex 3 Western Digital Green Western Digital Crucial M4 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Corsair H100 Windows 7 Professional x64 edition Samsung S27A650D Samsung S27A650D 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard v4000 Corsair AX750 Corsair Graphite Special Edition White 600T Microsoft Sidewinder x7 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Razer eXactMat Digidesign 003R Event TR8 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
x6 1055t MSI 870a XFX 4850 4GB ddr3 G Skill Ripjaw 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB Hdd sata dvd burner Windows 7 Pro x64 LG 47LM6200 
KeyboardPowerCase
Microsoft ergonomics keyboard PC Power&Cooling 510 Antec P180 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel i5 3570k Asus P8Z77-V G. Skill Sniper 8GB 1866MHz OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Antec h20 620 Windows 7 Pro x64 Dual Acer 22" Corsair CX430 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadagain6591 View Post

Formats such as DTS Master Audio delivers up to 192 kHz, and looking to the future i believe more formats will start adopting this as standard. Now I only need 96 kHz on USB because most music isn't available higher than that.
After doing some research, I thinking it would be a good idea to stay away from any dac that is powered by a "wall-wart" instead of an IEC connector. The main reason for this is I find it hard to trust the power supply in such a small wall-wart, and i believe that the small cables associated with these may lead to vulnerabilities when it comes to noise.

These are all misconceptions and completely untrue. First, DTS Master Audio is something that is multi-channel so you're not going to be able to play it with your 2 channel DAC. DTS Master Audio must be played by a capable multi-channel processor or AVR.

Because "most" music isn't available in 24/192, does that mean that you should ignore it? I really don't think so. If you're going to spend this much on a device, why not pick one that allows you to use all of the features that are currently available? There are plenty of DACs that can do 24/192 and it would be a more wise decision to select one that is capable.

Considering the DACMagic Plus wall wart, this is only an AC transformer and AC-DC rectifier. It is actually better to do this conversion outside of the DAC circuit because it removes any magnetic fields and noise created by the converters from the box where the D/A conversion is actually happening. You will find many devices that use external power supplies or rectifiers in their designs. Something like my personal favorite, the MSB Platinum DAC IV ($10,000 with upgraded external power supply). The wall wart on the DACMagic Plus also has a choke at the DC end to prevent interference on the power cord from entering the DAC. The size of this cable is the correct size for +12VDC which is what the DAC actually runs on. So an external power supply, even a wall wart, is an exercise in noise rejection, not a poor design choice. A better power supply is always the foundation of a great DAC, but you will have to pay more money for something on the higher end of extreme as seen by the $3,500 upgraded power supply from MSB.
Edited by Greg121986 - 7/19/12 at 7:25am
post #8 of 8
ODAC
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Home Audio
Overclock.net › Forums › Consumer Electronics › Home Audio › Dac choices